Council to Tackle Proposed Measures on ‘Ukay’
VOL. XVIII, NO. 6(Nov. 15-21)
BAGUIO CITY – The city council is set to discuss in its session tomorrow (Monday) three proposal seeking relief for the “ukay-ukay” industry in the city in face of the continuing crackdown on smuggled goods by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
The body will deliberate on the proposed resolution of Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. asking President Benigno S. Aquino III to spare the local ukay-ukay business from the raids as it has been “compliant with city ordinances including business permit applications and payment of local taxes and fees.”
“While the city government does not tolerate the entry of smuggled clothing into the city, there is also no law that prohibits the operation of ‘ukay’ukay’ shops and garage sales that have proliferated not only in the city but the entire country as well,” he said.
“Further, local ‘ukay-ukay’ traders are regularly advised to keep their proof of purchase of secondhand clothes from importers based in freeport zones for presentation during inspection by the BOC and they are instructed to coordinate with the BOC in pinpointing the sources of these alleged smuggled clothes.”
Also in line for discussion is Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda’s resolution urging Congress to initiate the repeal of Republic Act 4653 or “An Act to Safeguard the Health of the People and Maintain Dignity of the Nation by Declaring it a National Policy to Prohibit the Commercial Importation of Textile Articles Commonly Known as Used Clothing and Rags.”
She said the ukay-ukay business has become a source of livelihood of many residents and even become a tourist attraction and economic boon for the city government.
“While the City Government is aware of the initiative of the national government to track down and apprehend illegal importations of used clothings, however, it has apprehensions that these moves may have a negative effect on the livelihood and tourism activities of not only the City of Baguio but by other LGUs which support the “ukay-ukay” trade,” she said.
“Since up to the present, there is no conclusive evidence that would show that imported used clothings are contaminated and may cause illnesses to the user, it is proper that Congress repeal RA 4653, and allow a free exercise of trade;
“Because ukay-uklay trade is now accepted even in international markets, it is no longer degrading for the Filipino to patronize these imported items.”
Tabanda co-authored another proposed resolution with Councilor Fred Bagbagen supporting House Bill No. 4055 to repeal R. A. 4653 which is also included in the body’s agenda./ A Refuerzo